Sport Mirco Bergamasco last played for Italy in November 2012 before he suffered a fractured kneecap

The 30-year-old utility back, now with Rovigo in his homeland, has stood out this season and earnt a recall from national coach Jacques Brunel

Venice: Pure City, By Peter Ackroyd

Having drained London dry, Ackroyd has found a juicy new topic on the Adriatic. In this ironically titled study, La Serenissima gains an Ackroydian gloss, familiar to the many fans of his London: A Biography. Ackroyd's Venice is "the home of the dispossessed and the deracinated".

Northern League demands freedom from Rome's rain

Italy's federalist and powerful Northern League, not content with demands for more local political autonomy, now wants freedom from the tyranny of national weather forecasts.

Venice baulks at prospect of 'outrageous' plastic gondolas

Venice has had to endure much over the ages: invading armies, constant floods and marauding tourists. But the evocative lagoon port has drawn the line at the latest assault – the arrival of fibreglass gondolas.

A Taste of Venice: At Table with Brunetti, By Donna Leon

Consumption plays a prominent part in Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti novels. This is fair enough since the detective's beat takes him down the mean canals of Venice, where culinary temptations (with recipes by Roberta Pianaro) are somewhat more frequent than in Marlowe's LA.

Azzurri have Magners snub point to prove, warns Heaslip

Ireland begin their quest to win back-to-back Grand Slams when they open their Six Nations defence against Italy at Croke Park today.

On The Road: Making sense of fair Verona

I get by in Italian. I can be mannerly and appreciative, buy things, curse in a variety of dialects and make myself understood. But, being limited to structureless utterances that lack nuance, cheek or charm, I can't really be myself in Italian. So I have come to Verona to do a month's language course at LinguaIT ( linguait.it ), an on-the-ball school located in a grand palazzo.

Ashton stays on the scent of Saints' last-eight ambitions

Northampton 30 Treviso 18

Heineken Cup round-up: Arias on song as Scots get plastered in Paris

Stade Français scored four first-half tries against Edinburgh in Paris, on their way to a 31-7 victory in Pool Four of the Heineken Cup.

Carmen Ejogo: 'There's some kind of trauma at play'

Sam Mendes is known for discovering American actresses, but his new film has a fresh British star. Carmen Ejogo tells James Mottram how her own troubled upbringing meant she could identify with the characters in 'Away We Go'

Death in Venice – but this time it's Bogarde's beach

Scene immortalised by Dirk Bogarde film will be lost under plans to develop sand dunes. Michael Day reports on the backlash

Venice Is a Fish, By Tiziano Scarpa

A "vast sole", to be precise, caught by a fishing line in the form of the causeway that links it to the mainland. Scarpa's luminous tribute (translated by Shaun Whiteside) won't tell you where to go ("Getting lost is the only place worth getting to"), but he does tell you how to enjoy Venice through hands ("Block a drinking fountain and send three-metre geysers gushing from the spout") and mouth (fried sardines marinaded in onions and vinegar will "flabbergast your taste buds...").

The Girl of His Dreams, By Donna Leon

The 17th novel in Donna Leon's excellent detective series finds the affable Commissario Guido Brunetti trying to work out how and why a pretty ten-year-old girl has been found floating in Venice's Grand Canal. His investigations take him deep into the Veneto and a squalid gypsy encampment.

My Tango with Barbara Strozzi, By Russell Hoban

Recently-separated writer Phil Ockerman falls in love with winningly-named Bertha Strunk at a tango lesson. Bertha turns out to be the spit of 17th-century Venetian singer and composer Barbara Strozzi, whose "slightly sluttish look was irresistible". Bertha and Barbara take up serious fantasy space in Phil's head, until he's not sure which is which. Hoban's story is grounded in a familiar cityscape of cafés and tubes, but populated with arcane references and zany riffs. A love story that takes place between the ears rather than sheets, it captures the faltering steps of a romance between two people who've been tripped up in the past.

Sport
Australia vs New Zealand live
cricket Follow over-by-over coverage as rivals New Zealand and Australia face off
News
Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
Life and Style
Researchers found that just 10 one-minute swill-and-spit sessions are enough to soften tooth enamel and make teeth vulnerable to erosion
health
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Regent Street Cinema’s projection room in the 1920s
film
News
Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
peopleMeet the 16-year-old who has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year
News
Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
peopleBritish designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
Latest stories from i100
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 12 March 2015
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing